My rating: 5 of 5 stars.
This was the last of the audio books we listened to when we drove out to Seattle, and it’s an excellent example of a middle grade adventure.
The main character, Igraine, is the not-so-magical daughter of great magicians. She wants to be a knight. When her parents turn themselves into curly-tailed pigs while enchanting her birthday present, Igraine finally gets the chance to prove herself by defending her family’s castle from an invading evil wizard.
But, like any good protagonist, she can’t do it alone. She is joined by her brother who’s magic is strong so long as he’s not trying to cook with it, and a sorrowful knight who spends a great deal of time sighing. Each of the characters is unique, with strong personality traits that make them easily identifiable and relatable. The characters don’t show a whole lot of internal development, but their situations do change to reflect their success. The sorrowful knight is slightly less sorrowful. Igraine is validated as a knight and allowed to continue her training as such. As is customary in children’s books, the bad guys are defeated but not vanquished.
The plot and pacing of the story is fast and fun, pulling the listener along. I especially loved all the humor in the story, both geared toward children and the parents who might be reading or listening along.
The audio quality was very good, with voice shifts for the characters and a strong steady rhythm. We listened to this story beginning to end, and at each juncture Alice asked, “Can we listen to the next disc?”
Cornelia Funke is also the author of the Inkheart trilogy, which I enjoyed.